News in Brief

U.S. Lawmakers Inquire

WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers who have been urging a strong response to Russia's invasion of Georgia were to question White House and military officials Tuesday on how they intend to handle Russia's assertiveness in foreign affairs.

The hearings follow a symbolic move by U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday to cancel a civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Russia that was until recently viewed as an opening to ameliorate rising tensions. (AP)

U.S. Mocks Naval Plans

WASHINGTON -- The United States has mocked Russia's plans to send a naval squadron and long-range patrol planes to the Caribbean for joint military exercises with Venezuela.

The Foreign Ministry said Monday that Russia intended to conduct the exercises. In response, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack poked fun at the Russian Navy. He said if Russia really intended to send ships to the Caribbean, "then they found a few ships that can make it that far." (AP)

Ban for Drunk High Jumper

Russian high jumper Ivan Ukhov faces a one-year ban after competing in last week's Lausanne grand prix while drunk.

"It's a shame. By competing in such a condition he has disgraced all Russian track-and-field athletes," Russia athletics head coach Valentin Maslakov said Tuesday. "I will ask our athletics federation to suspend Ukhov for a year."

Organizers at the Lausanne grand prix asked Ukhov to pull out of the competition after he failed to clear the opening height.

Ukhov's manager, Pavel Voronkov, said personal problems had led to the 22-year-old's bizarre performance. (Reuters)

Rebels Kill Dagestani Police

Three policemen were killed in a gunfight with rebels in Dagestan in an operation to force gunmen out of the mountains, Interfax reported.

"The search group which conducted the sweep in the counterterrorist operation area stumbled upon an armed group," a source in the local police service told Interfax on Monday. "In the skirmish three police officers were killed. The criminals managed to escape." (Reuters)